Racing: With the Cheltenham Festival done and dusted for another year, National Hunt eyes will focus on Uttoxeter and the Midlands’ National over a stamina-sapping four and a quarter miles at 3.50.
Tomorrow's race features last year’s first and second in Master Overseer and Major Malarkey with the latter now a full 13lbs better off for being beaten three parts of a length.
So it is safe to assume that he has a sound chance of reversing that form, but only if the rains stay away. The current forecast suggests that is highly unlikely and that leads me in the direction of Big Occasion.
David Pipe’s seven-year-old may be out of the weights, but he has looked as though an extreme test of stamina will spark an improvement and a staying on second behind Emperor’s Choice at Lingfield Park only cemented that view.
That was only his fifth start over the larger obstacles and he gets the vote over a fellow light weight Chac Du Cadran, the latter having hosed up in the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick Bridge.
There is a cracking card on the all-weather at Lingfield Park with the feature race being the Winter Derby (3.30) which last year saw a stirring battle between that evergreen veteran Premio Loco and the second home 12 months ago Cai Shen.
The Hannon/Hughes rep was a shade unlucky last year when he was forced very wide into the home stretch and motored home only to be beaten by half a length.
The likely favourite Farraaj showed that he deserves a shot at this level when readily landing a Listed contest over course and distance the last time he was seen on track four months ago.
An hour earlier there is a highly competitive five furlong event in which York Glory was going to be my original selection, but I have been put off by his stall seven draw, and my preference is for Bear Behind.
Tom Dascombe’s charge ran well in Meydan this spring culminating in a good run behind Dux Scholar. Ladies Are Forever had the run of the race when winning last time out and Farmleigh House can reverse the form, especially if he settles better having been very free through the first quarter mile of that event.
Later on, Dubai Dynamo looks ready to strike in the one mile handicap at 4.40 after running on nicely behind Tarooq at Wolverhampton. Off a mark of 90 he is preferred to Grey Mirage and the veteran Mia’s Boy.
The action is slightly less attractive at Wolverhampton in the evening, but it may pay to give Fantasy Fighter a chance off a mark of 45 at 8.20. The old timer hasn’t had much luck this winter but this represents a clear opening at a double figure price.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.